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Lord Snowdon, photographer and former husband of Princess Margaret, dies aged 86

Celebrity photographer Lord Snowdon, the former husband of Princess Margaret, has died aged 86.

Lord Snowdon photographed some of the most famous faces of the 20th century, from Diana, Princess of Wales to Jack Nicholson and Elizabeth Taylor, in a career that lasted more than six decades.

But he will be remembered as the man who married into the royal family, wedding the Queen's sister Princess Margaret in 1960 - a union that ended in divorce 18 years later.

The couple had two children and it is said Lord Snowdon remained close to the monarchy, and is the only photographer to have had sittings with the Queen throughout her long reign.

Born Antony Armstrong-Jones, the Eton-educated photographer died peacefully at home on Friday said Camera Press, the photographic agency he worked with for a number of years.

Buckingham Palace said the Queen had been informed, but did not comment further.

Camera Press said in a short statement: "The Earl of Snowdon died peacefully at home on 13th January 2017."

Lord Snowdon began his career in 1952 as a society photographer for Tatler magazine and his skill at taking portraits saw him commissioned to capture the official images of the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh for their 1957 tour of Canada.

He met Margaret through his work and their marriage in 1960 heralded the start of a decade that would be dubbed the swinging 60s and sweep away stuffy social conventions.

The couple would epitomise the mood of the times, mixing with celebrities and enjoying a lifestyle afforded by the Princess' position, but their marriage broke down with reports in the press chronicling their personal problems and speculating about affairs.

The photographer - created First Earl of Snowdon in 1961 - was in demand with the rich and famous and also took extensive pictures of the Royal Family.

When the then Lady Diana Spencer got engaged to the Prince of Wales he captured the images to mark the announcement, and also took the official pictures for the Queen's 80th birthday.

He photographed Prince Harry as a teenager, a young Princess Royal, Diana with her sons when they were babies, the Queen Mother and took numerous other portraits of the royals.

Lord Snowdon was a keen designer, creating the plans for London Zoo's aviary, built in 1965 and now grade II* listed, and was responsible for the design of the Prince of Wales' 1969 investiture ceremony at Caernarfon Castle.

He also championed the cause of disabled people, creating a mobilised platform to give them greater mobility and sitting on a number of bodies and organisations.

Margaret and Antony had two children David - now the Second Earl of Snowdon - and Lady Sarah Chatto before they divorced in 1978.

That year he married Lucy Lindsay-Hogg but - after having a daughter - she left him weeks before Country Life journalist Melanie Cable-Alexander bore him a son, and they divorced in September 2000.

Earlier there was sadness - and scandal - when, on New Year's Eve 1996, his long-term mistress, journalist Ann Hills, took her life with a drugs overdose.

Lord Snowdon was frail in his later years, using a wheelchair or sticks because of a recurrence of his childhood polio and he retired from the House of Lords in March 2016.

Lord Snowdon also had a five-year relationship with Marjorie Wallace, the former journalist and founder of the mental health charity Sane.

Ms Wallace , Sane's chief executive, paid tribute to the photographer: " I collaborated closely with Lord Snowdon from the 1970s, working on stories, mainly for the Sunday Times, which exposed injustices to people with disabilities and later those with mental illness.

"I was always impressed by his commitment and compassion, and how my words and his iconic photographs could in some cases change perceptions.

"Throughout our working years together, subsequently and up until his death today we were and remained good friends.

"I will miss our regular lunches and phone calls, his dignity and humour, and his encouragement for the work we do."


From Belfast Telegraph